This question is asked by many people, especially those who are always struggling with their weight. If you are looking for an easy way to lose weight then you have probably considered drinking alcohol as a diet aid. Although it is not recommended to drink alcohol if you are already using another weight loss method, such as eating less or exercising more, drinking alcohol daily may assist you in reaching your desired weight. Let’s take a quick look at the evidence and answer the question!
The Surprising Connection Between Alcohol And Weight Loss
You may have heard of the calorie-burning properties of alcohol, which aid in weight loss. Indeed, alcohol has been shown in studies to increase the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of those who drink it. Drinks containing more than 4% alcohol have been classified by the American Institute of Stress Disorders as having a “therapeutic effect” on those who suffer from anxiety and depression. One study even showed that drinking alcohol may reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function in those who drank it daily for a month.
Alcohol has also been shown to increase the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of those who drink it. The reason for this phenomenon is that alcohol inhibits the activity of adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. As a result of this inhibition, the neurotransmitters involved in appetite suppression, such as tryptophan and serotonin, are released. These neurotransmitters help to maintain a healthy weight by decreasing food cravings and increasing appetite satisfaction. When you drink alcohol daily, you may find that your body requires less food to maintain its current weight.
Does Drinking Alcohol Help You Lose Weight?
Based on the evidence presented above, it would seem that drinking alcohol can assist you in losing weight. However, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, there are many instances where drinking alcohol may do the complete opposite. Let’s take a look at some of these instances.
When You Drink Alcohol, You May Become Fatter
It has been well established that alcohol inhibits the activity of adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. As a result of this inhibition, the neurotransmitters involved in appetite suppression, such as tryptophan and serotonin, are released. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is essential for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is known to encourage food intake and block the feeling of fullness. When you drink alcohol, you may find that your body requires more tryptophan to maintain its current level of serotonin. As you may imagine, this can lead to an increase in tryptophan levels and an increase in serotonin levels. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “serotonin syndrome” because it usually occurs as a result of attempting to eliminate or reduce the serotonin levels in the brain. In some instances, the syndrome may be fatal. As a general rule, the fewer sources of tryptophan you have in your diet, the fatter you will get (i.e., drink eggnog rather than wine daily and you will become very fat, indeed). Serotonin is only one of many neurotransmitters that are affected by alcohol. Indeed, alcohol can interfere with the functioning of many neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The net result of all of this neurotransmitter interference is that you may become more susceptible to illness and addiction. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate muscle movement and activity. Norepinephrine is a hormone that regulates blood pressure and heart rate. Finally, dopamine is a hormone that encourages people to seek out pleasure and activity.
Does Drinking Alcohol Make You Gain Weight?
There are also instances where drinking alcohol may lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. This occurs when you drink more than you should or intend to drink. In these cases, alcohol causes your body to produce more adipose tissue (fat). This is because alcohol is known to increase the activity of lipoprotein lipase in the liver, which helps to boost triglyceride synthesis. Triglycerides are a type of fat that is found in the blood. When your blood sugar levels are elevated due to the activity of insulin in the pancreas, as a result of drinking alcohol, then this also contributes to the synthesis of triglycerides. These triglycerides are then deposited in different areas of the body, as a result of which you may gain weight in certain instances.
Drinking Alcohol Will Not Help You Lose Weight In Every Case
Drinking alcohol is not always going to result in weight loss. In fact, there are many variables that may interfere with the effect that alcohol has on your body. This is why it is important to consider the source of the alcohol when answering the question as to whether or not drinking alcohol makes you lose weight. If the alcohol is purchased in a retail outlet, rather than produced by the individual who is drinking it, then it is usually a safe bet to assume that the alcohol is probably not going to assist in weight loss, due to the fact that the drinker did not intend to lose weight.
It is also well established that the calories in alcohol are not necessarily the same as the calories you would get from the same volume of vodka. The amount of alcohol that you drink is also important to consider when weighing its effect on your weight. For example, if you drink 3 alcoholic beverages a day, rather than 6, then you will probably end up weighing more, because the alcohol is contributing to your daily calorie intake. This also applies to beer, which can range from 0 to 5% ABV. Anything more than 5% ABV and you are entering risky territory, because the alcohol is starting to affect your health in a negative way. As discussed, there are other factors that may interfere with the effect that alcohol has on your weight. If you are interested in experimenting with alcohol as a weight loss aid, then you should restrict yourself to no more than 4 drinks a day, or 1 drink every other day, to prevent any undesirable effects.
The Bottom Line
Based on the evidence presented above, it would seem that drinking alcohol, on a regular basis, may assist you in losing weight. However, this is not necessarily the case, as there are many instances where drinking alcohol may do the complete opposite. It is also well established that the calories in alcohol are not necessarily the same as the calories you would get from the same volume of vodka. Finally, let’s keep in mind that if you are interested in trying out alcohol as a weight loss aid, then you should restrict yourself to no more than 4 drinks a day, or 1 drink every other day, to prevent any undesirable effects. So, if you are looking for an easy way to lose weight, then you may want to consider drinking alcohol, but only in moderation and in the right situation.